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‘Survivor: Island Of The Idols’ Recap: “Plan Z”

Survivor Island of the Idols

This Survivor recap is going to be a little different than most. This week’s episode was fantastic for many reasons, but the biggest reason was easily Noura. So most of our time will be spent on her, shall we say, interesting choices made this episode.

All in all, “Plan Z” was one of the funniest episodes of Survivor in a good long while. As I’m assuming anyone who’s reading this has seen the previous three episodes, we all know how kooky Noura is. The Survivor editing team doesn’t have a difficult job in getting that across. Noura has taken care of that by simply letting her personality fly. And I am totally, 100% here for it.

The Island of the Idols boat arrives at Vokai beach, ready to take its next visitor. However, there’s a slight twist this time. Rather than having Vince pick a name out of a bag at random, the next person can be chosen a bit differently. If the tribe can come to a consensus, that person goes. If the choice is not unanimous, then they go back to picking at random.

What followed was some more fantastic editing, showing several Vokai tribe members (particularly those who have so far come off as smart, strategic players) talk about how dumb it would be to volunteer to go. Of course everyone wants an idol, an advantage, or whatever else might await them at the Island of the Idols. But just by the fact that you go there, you become an immediate threat. As Tommy put it, “My whole game is about lowering my threat level.”

So just when you think we’re going back to the exhilarating display of drawing a name out of a bag, who should volunteer but our dear pal Noura. If this isn’t a clear indication of who knows the game and who doesn’t, I don’t know what is. You can obviously understand the reasoning behind someone wanting to go to, but to actually put that desire into action is something else altogether. And that brings us to the visit itself.

Island of the Idols

We may have finally gotten the first contestant who didn’t recognize Boston Rob and Sandra. You’d have to believe if Noura was a super fan, she would have lost her mind. She gets so animated over minute details at camp, I can only imagine what she would have done had she actually known these two Survivor legends. Talk about an opportunity lost.

This week’s lesson is on the art of persuasion. The actual interaction was so-so, but the real treat was seeing flashbacks to various famous moments in Survivor history. Included, of course, was Erik Reichenbach’s infamous immunity necklace giveaway during Micronesia.

Quick aside: When you’re done reading this recap, you have to read this article from Dalton Ross at Entertainment Weekly, a lookback at that famous moment, with insight from all players involved, including Erik himself. Truly a must-read for any Survivor fan.

Noura’s test in the art of persuasion was convincing her tribe to let her be the caller at the upcoming immunity challenge, a classic Survivor blindfolded challenge. If she succeeds, she earns the ability to block one person’s vote at her next Tribal Council. But if she doesn’t, she loses her vote at her next Tribal Council.

If Noura can persuade her tribe to let her be the caller at the next immunity challenge, she gets to block the vote of one player. If she can’t do it, she loses her vote. Rob can barely finish explaining this before Noura accepts. It may have been an editing trick, but it seemed like Noura took exactly zero seconds to think about this. And now that I think about it, I’m not sure any editing was necessary. Even Sandra tries to get her to take a step back and consider all angles, but Noura’s having none of it. She’s all in.

The worst lie ever? Possibly the worst lie ever.

One of the most intriguing aspects of the Island of the Idols is what the visitors choose to say to their tribe upon returning to the beach. It becomes even more interesting now that multiple people from each tribe will have gone. And even more interesting this time around considering Noura is, well, Noura. And boy did she not disappoint.

Upon returning to camp, Noura tells the tribe she has all the details on the upcoming immunity challenge. And she can tell them those details, but only if they agree to what her role should be in the challenge. Tommy smartly clarified that they would be agreeing to give her an unknown role in an unknown challenge. Instead of trying to talk her way out of it, Noura just told them to agree. And they did. Because of course they did.

For one, she had knowledge of the next immunity challenge. Depending on what the challenge is, that could be a huge advantage. And two, nobody believed her, so they all knew they could switch her out of the role if so desired. Which they would later do.

So what could Noura have done instead? Oh I don’t know, almost literally anything else? But her best option probably would have been to wait until the challenge is explained and then position herself as the best choice for caller. She has a loud, distinct voice, she could have reasoned that makes her a good choice. And it puts her in the spotlight. Other players are often all too happy to let someone else put themselves in that kind of prime position. If you volunteer for that important of a position and you don’t deliver, you automatically have a target on your back. And if the target is on your back, it’s not on their’s.

Immunity Challenge

It’s a standard Survivor blindfolded challenge. The caller leads the tribe through a course, collecting three keys. They use the keys to unlock puzzle pieces, and the caller guides one still-blindfolded member to complete the puzzle. These are always a crowd-pleaser. There’s just something inherently funny about watching people walk into things, bump their heads, and take accidental crotch shots, like Tommy did. Very simply, very fun, very funny.

With Vokai having a one person advantage, they must choose someone to sit out. And of course they choose Noura, cementing the fact they nobody believed her lie that once they agreed to give her whatever role she wanted, they couldn’t back out.

The decision ultimately proved a wise one, as caller Jason leads Vokai to victory.

Contrary to what the previous 1,000+ words might suggest, other things did happen in this week’s episode. We’ll hit those quick.

Meanwhile, on Vokai

Jamal finds an idol after being left alone on the beach. Some other tribe members have talked about being concerned about Jamal, for one reason or another. But apparently not overly concerned? Leaving someone like that alone at camp is essentially inviting him to go look for an idol.

After a rough first couple of days, Jason has done very well getting himself back in his tribe’s good graces. If he keeps it up, he could be in for a deep run.


That’s right, we still have the vote to get to! Chelsea is on the unfortunate side of another blindside, voted out 6-2. She and Dean were caught in the early stages of a showmance, something every fan knows to avoid like the plague.

Missy needs to be careful. She’s playing hard, making some big moves, but she’s toeing a fine line of going too hard and overplaying her hand. She definitely has winner potential, but if she doesn’t start to rein it in a little bit, she could see her game ending a lot sooner than she would hope.

Written by Matt Hambidge

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